Review, Report, Respond – a simple formula for change.
The construction industry faces challenges on a daily basis. Overcoming these challenges shows the industry’s ability to survive in an evolving marketplace. By taking a simple approach that involves Reviewing multinational companies outside the construction industry, Reporting on team progress and Responding through incremental improvements, positive change can lift construction performance and profitability. I met a war correspondent recently, well-weathered from his experiences. He described his greatest talent as getting out of tight spaces quickly and quietly – he backed it up by saying it was easier than what he saw construction companies manage – and often for prolonged periods. A war zone seemed finite compared with a construction business where the stress never ended.
He was exaggerating, but courage in the face of fire is hard to maintain. How many of our employees and contractors (or ourselves) shy away from tasks they may fail at (or not reach their target) through criticism if they didn’t succeed. It’s easier to keep your head low, avoid contact with the enemy and squirrel yourself away to survive.
The following are three ways to re-invigorate your construction business and remove the culture of ‘fear’ that stops innovation by reviewing, reporting and responding to market demand.
Step 1 Review multinational companies in industries other than construction
Construction can learn a lot from how other industries re-define themselves.
A Less from IBM
IBM, which celebrated its centenary in 2011, did not start out as the company it is today. It began its corporate journey making clocks, scales, cheese slicers, typewriters, vacuum tube calculators, magnetic tape, the first disk drive, the memory chip, FORTRAN, fractals, ATMs and mainframes before making a name for itself with mini-computers, personal computers, supercomputers, software and analytics.
Imagine what IBM may have become if innovation wasn’t at its core – namely a maker of kitchen gadgets based on its cheese-slicer origins. IBM’s example proves How To Renovate A House Yourself we shouldn’t define ourselves by what we make, but by the beliefs driving our organisations to maintain a service orientation that solves customers’ problems.
For IBM the PC was an innovation in 1981, touching tens of millions of people, but twenty years later IBM’s differentiation was limited, particularly with hybrid computers flooding the market.
As a result, continual forward movement remains part of IBM’s business model – its value proposition to create and provide innovative solutions for clients being the company’s core vision. But it’s the translation of that core vision into action over the past 100 years that has kept the company alive through a culture driven by its beliefs and values.
Never Define Yourself By What You Do Today
IBM’s chairman and CEO, Sam Palmisano says, “Because the frontier of what is truly innovative keeps moving, that compels us not to sit still. It is a constant reminder never to define ourselves by the things we make, no matter how successful they are today…”
Palmisano sacked 10,000 employees in 2009 …